PESHAWAR: The Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Saturday urged the government to withdraw Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) at the Torkham border crossing, and to remove obstacles on the Pak-Afghanistan joint trade and transit road.
The request was made by SCCI Senior Vice President Shahid Hussain during a meeting with the Director General of Transit Trade in Karachi, Raza Ahmad Khan.
While highlighting the problem of customs clearing agents and the business community, former SCCI official Ziaul Haq Sarhadi told the meeting that nearly 7,000 containers / trading trucks in transit were stuck due to a slow clearing process in the port of Karachi, which had a negative impact on the bilateral Pakistan-Afghanistan. and transit trade.
He said that the large charges were collected from traders and exporters on the grounds of “demurrage and detention” in the port of Karachi. With the business community already being locked in by Covid-19, this has increasingly pushed the community towards economic depression. He called for withdrawal of demurrage fees and immediate detention to alleviate the financial woes of the merchant community.
Sarhadi said that following the direction of the Federal Revenue Board, a 100 percent inspection of transit trade containers was being carried out at the port of Karachi, while additional truck checks were also carried out at the Torkham border. He claimed this as the main reason behind the slowing of joint trade and transit with Afghanistan.
He urged authorities to conduct only 5 percent of container inspections at the port of Karachi to speed up bilateral trade and transit between the two neighboring countries. He also stressed the need to install more scanning machines in the port of Karachi and sign agreements with several companies for tracking systems.
He stressed that the process of cleaning and checking containers / trucks in transit trade must be accelerated at the Port of Karachi and the Torkham border.
In addition, he called on trucks and empty containers trapped on the Afghan side to move to the Torkham border, to their final destination, Karachi, to overcome shortages at the port.
Sarhadi urged the federal government to withdraw SRO 121. This would allow the transportation of loose cargo to Afghanistan, in addition to container cargo, which could eliminate the monopoly of bonded carriers. He suggested holding a Pak-Afghanistan Joint Liaison Committee meeting after two months.
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